ABSTRACT

Local governance of safety In most West European countries, the governance of safety and public nuisance tops political priorities both at the national level and at the community level. The growing attention for public safety issues in our cities and streets seems to have the scope of a societal quest. In line with these observations, a number of scholars proclaim a shift from traditional (penal) welfarism to a risk society and culture of control (Garland 2001, Boutellier 2002). Floating on neoliberal and neoconservative agendas, this shift is paralleled by a new discourse where notions such as ‘privatisation’, ‘commercialisation’, ‘responsibilisation’, etc., enter the debates and quickly gain ground (van Swaaningen 2004, Schuilenburg and van Swaaningen 2013). Under these circumstances and over the last couple of decades, the governance of safety has moved away from a state monopoly and relatively exclusive task of the police to a mission and shared responsibility of the local community at large and a growing number of public-private partnerships (Hughes and Edwards 2002, van Swaaningen 2004, Crawford 2006).